Silver Spring, Maryland Criminal Defense Lawyer
Fighting the Prosecution, One Case at a Time
The criminal justice system is a frightening and confusing process for most people because it is never fully explained to them. Effective guidance and advocacy by a Silver Spring, Maryland criminal defense attorney from Portner & Shure, P.A. can help you better understand what you’re dealing with when accused of a crime. A criminal conviction can have serious consequences like jail time, fines, reputation loss, and more. But we are here to do all we can to make certain none of those things affect unjustly affect you.
For a free consultation with one of our Silver Spring criminal defense attorneys, contact us online.
Maryland’s Judicial System
The State of Maryland has two trial courts: the District Court and the Circuit Court. In the District Court, there are no jury trials. All cases are tried by a judge. If a person is found guilty at a trial in the District Court, they are entitled to a completely new trial (de novo trial) in the Circuit Court.
In the Circuit Court, cases can either be tried by a judge or jury. A person is entitled to a trial by jury if they are charged with a crime that carries a potential penalty of 90 days or more in jail.
An Accused Individual’s Rights
The United States’ Constitution and the Maryland Declaration of Rights guarantee people who are charged with crimes certain legal rights.
Your rights once accused of a crime include:
- Presumption of innocence: An accused individual is presumed to be innocent, and the State of Maryland is obligated to prove a person’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
- Right to a fair trial: An accused individual is entitled to a trial before a neutral fact-finder such as a judge or jury.
- Right to confrontation: The prosecution must present their witnesses in court and an accused individual or their attorney is entitled to ask them questions in court.
- Right to remain silent: An accused individual is not obligated to speak with police or prosecutors and cannot be compelled to testify at their own trial.
How the System Works
Police and prosecutors routinely charge people with as many crimes as they can loosely relate to the defendant’s alleged actions. They do this to intimidate people into waiving their rights and accepting a plea deal. They do not want people who are accused of crimes to plead not guilty because this forces them to prove their case. A review of the evidence may reveal that the State of Maryland may not be able to prove its case.
Legal Issues & Defenses in Criminal Cases
The most commonly used defenses are lack of proof or a failure by the prosecution to meet their burden. A review of the evidence may reveal that a key witness lacks credibility. Vital evidence may be excluded if it was gathered illegally by the police in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the United States’ Constitution.
Outcomes in a Criminal Case
In Maryland, a criminal case has five possible outcomes:
- Not Guilty: A criminal defendant is acquitted by a judge or jury.
- Guilty: A criminal defendant is convicted by a judge or jury.
- Nolle prosequi: The prosecutor dismisses the case.
- Stet: A criminal case is placed on an inactive docket. This is not a dismissal. Instead, the case is not being actively prosecuted or pursued. To accept a stet, a criminal defendant must waive their right to a speedy trial.
- Probation before judgment: To understand what “probation before judgment” is, one has to understand the legal components of a conviction. Under Maryland law, a conviction is a finding of guilt and the imposition of a sentence. If an accused individual is found guilty but never sentenced, they have not been legally convicted. The defendant can be put on probation before any criminal judgment is made against them. This option requires the defendant to omit their right to an appeal.
Services Portner & Shure, P.A. Can Provide
Effective legal representation matters than when you are accused of a crime. The consequences of a criminal conviction are severe. A Silver Spring, Maryland criminal defense attorney may be the only thing standing between your freedom and possible incarceration. The zealous criminal attorneys at Portner & Shure, P.A. have been successfully representing clients for criminal matters in Maryland Courts for more than 25 years.
Some of our practice areas include:
- Drug crimes
- Traffic defense
Our attorneys will fight to protect your rights and your freedom. We have built an excellent reputation in Maryland’s legal community as seen within the numerous awards our attorneys have earned. The American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys of 2020 recently recognized Portner & Shure, P.A. as one of Maryland’s “10 Best Law Firms”, too!
To schedule a free consultation regarding your Silver Spring criminal case, contact us online or call (855) 954-4141. Our staff speaks English, Spanish, Korean, Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), and Vietnamese.